Understanding SEO for audiences and intent

Search engine optimisation is a wonderfully integrated marketing channel using the skills of multiple teams. From content writers to designers, and developers to project managers, there are a lot of internal and external stakeholders in an SEO campaign.  

This creates a complex issue with aligning the priorities of these stakeholders. Here, Plinkfizz analyses the benefits of ditching traffic focused SEO work and focusing on conversions instead.  

To begin with, it is important to understand the three topics we’re going to cover in this. 

Understanding some key SEO metrics  

Organic search audiences 

This refers to the type of person you’re trying to get onto your site. You should have a general idea of what your target audience looks like and it’s a good idea to put each different type of person into other categories to understand what it is they value and engage within online content.  

Organic search intent  

Each keyword has a different purpose which can be categorised into three main intents: informational, transactional and commercial.  

Informational   

This keyword group describes someone who wants to gain knowledge on a particular area. An example for this keyword would be ‘types of social media content’.  

Commercial  

Commercial keywords are keywords which show SEOs that the searcher is looking to buy something in the future. The searcher is assessing their options. For example, ‘best social media agencies’ would fall under this umbrella term. 

Transactional  

These types of keywords are the bottom of search conversion funnel. This is where the user is ready to convert. An example of transactional keywords in line with the previous examples would be ‘social media marketing quote’.  

Organic search traffic  

This refers to the number of people visiting a site from the organic section of a search engine result page (SERP). This is different to ads or sponsored keywords which appear on the SERP. Organic traffic can come from featured snippets and regular URL entries.   

Understanding the relationship between intent, audience and traffic 

Now we have cleared up the meanings, it is important to consider the implications each has on the other.  

Understanding what your audience wants to read and engage with – or for businesses to convert with – is imperative to know what content to create. Each audience will have different requirements. Writing for your audience and in line with Google’s EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trust) guidelines, are the most important ways of ranking high on SERPs for your target keywords. You can’t write for your audience without understanding their intent. You can, however, write for your audience without knowing the potential keyword traffic.  

Intent is key for writing SEO content and optimising your website for good SEO performance. You will know by now that understanding this and your audience is a surefire way to increase engagement and, hopefully, convert these engagers into regular purchasers. If you know that your audience is searching for, say, the best types of houseplants for darker rooms you can tailor your content to fit that need. You’ll write expert information with authority and trust to meet informational expectations, without the push for transactions. This will increase the likelihood of readers returning to the commercial and transactional stages of the SEO funnel.  

It is good when writing for informational terms to include high volume keywords because you know that they’re not likely to convert. The standard rule of thumb is higher the search volume, the lower the conversions, and vice versa.  

Focusing your SEO strategy on pure traffic performance is a risky one. Take the sporting term ‘stat-padding’ for example here, where a player performs out of their skin against poor opponents, is not a true reflection of their talent. Ranking for large volume keywords is similar. Obviously, it looks good on your reports, just like the basketballer’s assists or footballer’s goals do, but it’s almost meaningless if you can’t turn anything into conversions, or turn up against better opponents.  

 

Understanding the relationship between intent, audience and traffic is an important one to make sure your SEO strategy isn’t a waste of time. The better you understand your audience and the intent, the better the chance of conversions.  

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